Insanity to Recovery in 8 Songs or less

by Bill Brenner on December 29, 2009

The author shares some videos that together make a bitchin’ soundtrack for those who wrestle with mental illness and addiction. The first four cover the darkness. The next four cover the light.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a devoted fan of hard rock and metal music [See How Metal Saved Me]. I’ve found that the music helps me to release whatever negative thoughts I may have at the time. And so I thought I’d share some with a little help from Youtube.

Just don’t play ’em all at once, as the space-time continuum that binds the universe together might rupture, killing us all.

1. Cheap Trick: Woke Up With A Monster.

I love this band, and since we are often the monster we awake to, it’s entirely appropriate:


2. Sixx A.M.: Girl With Golden Eyes

This entire album — a soundtrack to Nikki Sixx’s book “The Heroin Diaries,” is perfect for folks like us. I like this song because it’s the part of the story where the addict really starts to hit bottom. And as we all know, hitting bottom is the first step in recovery:


3. Nine Inch Nails: Gave Up

This song speaks to the hopelessness we often feel. And in an unrelated but interesting aside, this video was shot at the residence of Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski, where Tate and four others were murdered by the Manson Family in 1969 (NIN’s “Broken” and “Downward Spiral” albums were recorded in the house, which Trent Reznor converted into a studio):


4. Metallica: The Unnamed Feeling

The video is pretty self-explanatory:


5. Sixx A.M.: Life is Beautiful

As Sixx says at the end, “When you’ve lost it all, that’s when you realize that life is beautiful.”


6. The Decemberists: Sons and Daughters

I love this song because it really nails the feeling you get when the black cloud finally lifts:


7. Avett Brothers: The Battle of Love and Hate

We all struggle internally with love and hate, and this song ends with Hate realizing that maybe — just maybe — he was being an idiot. Love, meanwhile, is patient and kind throughout:


8. P.O.D.: Alive

This song was big shortly after 9-11-01. It resonated with those who were starting to come out of the shock and despair of the attacks, at least in the sense that people came to appreciate their own lives a little more than before:


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne December 29, 2009 at 7:26 am

I like that you featured a local band, P.O.D., though I didn’t realize that song was so slow to hit the East Coast in 2001.

Michael D. December 30, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Thanks for writing your blog.
Your music choice is amazing.

Barb February 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm

just found your website and am over joyed. I suffer from OCD and addiction. I love metal music also and enjoy listening to Sixx a.m. and Metallica. Even though I am on medication and therapy since 1990, I still cannot shake my feeling of “FEAR” and “LOSS” which grew worse in 2000 after a tragedy of a child, my sons age and same name, that I didn’t even know was killed in a horrible crime. I obsessed about this little boy for years were it consumed my thoughts daily, all day. I am not obsessed about him anymore, but am with fear and loss of my own son.

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